Saturday, 3 October 2009

Day 14 - end of the road...

We made it to the end of the road!

First of all, I apologise for the delay in updating the blog for the last day. The closing celebrations went on until early morning!

When we woke up at Big Bear Lake there was frost outside. Luckily, by the time we was ready to leave the sun was out and it had warmed up.

Before we set off Alastair gathered both groups in the car park and explained what was going to happen throughout our last day. The second group left first shortly followed by our group.

The first part of the journey was more mountain roads going up then down the mountain.

I just loved the twisties but politely stayed in third position resisting temptation to make good progress and enjoy the road to the full as I didn't want to get lost on the last day. We arrived at a meeting point half way down the mountain where the other group were waiting. We then learnt that one of their members had got a puncture so Aliastair left to go back up the mountain to help out. In the mean time we all stood around taking some photos of the great view of LA from the mountain side and chatted about our previous 13 days of riding. After a while Alastair turns up followed by the Irish chap who had the puncture and of course Trey the scooper. They put some more air in the tyre and we all set off again down the mountain roads to the freeway that we was going to take into Santa Monica Boulevard.

The freeway ride was long (nearly 100 miles) and busy with lots of slow riding and lane swapping. Alastair had quite a job keeping 30 bikes together through the busy LA traffic which was a real experience and would probably worse than London traffic! Most of the drivers around here do not give motorcyclists any consideration, but thankfully we all survived without any issues. We finally got to Santa Monica Boulevard at about 1:30pm parked our bikes in an underground car park and walked the short distance to the end of Route 66 marked by the Will Rogers memorial plaque.

Wow, what an achievement, finally we had done it, reached the end of Route 66 having ridden more than 2500 miles since we left Chicago 14 days ago. Once we had done all the photo shoots we went to an English pub for a drink and a few of us had food as well! Then it was a ride back through the busy traffic to the hotel to unload the bikes before setting of to Eagle Rider where we was to return our bikes. Some of us were sad to depart with the bikes for others it was a relief!

A view from the rear...

I'm not a very eloquent person when it comes to writing, (or speaking for that matter). But I would really like to take a second and reflect on, and thank all the participants of the Route 66 crowd. For the last 14 days, I have been your "Guide/Tailgunner/Errand boy/Pie critic/Food taster/Weather forecaster (sage)/and general interpreter". All jobs that made me smile and look forward to getting up and going again. You two, as well as the rest of the group have been a delight to ride with every day. We have seen everything from Freezing cold nights, hot humid days, Desert dry heat, to a Midwestern Thunderstorm that rained 3 inches in 1 hour. You all accomplished those with a smile and were eager for more. We rode the back roads of America and were lucky to meet some warm and open people along the way. Those people were warm and open because our group was equally warm and open. You were always smiling and delighted to be where ever we might pointed. Last night you all stunned me with gifts as well as praise. I am the one that should be presenting you with tokens of gratitude. You shared your Love, friendship and humor and allowed me to become one of you for a brief period. You are all welcome in my home anytime you are over. Thanks to all for a wonderful 2 weeks...

I love riding with people from the UK.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Day 13

The main attraction of the afternoon was the California Route 66 museum at Victorville after which we had another good ride through the mountains. Alistair set a good pace, and through the bends the sound of grinding metal would often be heard. From the back it was noted that big Al was unable to shake loose the ever present 'Staff' who could be seen cranking it down and around. Steve is currently trying to find a file to get rid of evidence from the bottom of his bike and during the ride would wonder why the sound of grinding continued even when he was upright, only to see in his mirror 'Blademan Cliff' grinding away. Into the town limits and it was a slowdown to 30 mph with a fill up and onto Big Bear Lake where we were staying the night.

As we left Needles and started to ride through the Mojave desert the wind was much calmer than the previous couple of days but still had a bit of a chill to it. Luckily, I went prepared and had a few layers on.
Several stops in the morning to see more historic sights of the old route, one of which was a cafe where we had coffee and apple pie, (just the one piece of pie today) at Ludlow. Again like most of the cafes and other road side attractions along this route there was an old car outside, with flat tyres and even flatter paintwork!
We had lunch at Barstow Station, where they had some old railway carriages for restaurant seating. The donuts here were good, in fact very good so after my initial taster one, I got two more, (well I did only have the one piece of apple pie earlier)!

A woman's perspective of the trip...

Hi everybody, Lyndis here, pillion to Chris riding R66. Ive been asked to add to the blog with a female view point on this trip. Hi Jen and Jacs I think this may be my 15 minutes of fame at last.

Our day begins with what I call the motor bike dash. This is twenty odd people running out of the hotel to pack their crap, no, sorry i mean personnel possessions on to their bike, no mean feat for the two ups. We have designer luggage, black bin liners. Having watched this event for the last 10 days I think it would make a great TV game show, so any program produces out there get in touch. Despite this daily trauma ever body smiles and looks happy, my guess is that we are all insane. Who but a mad person would ride 2 to 3 hundred miles a day on a hard motor bike seat, on the wrong side of the road and pay money to do it.

Next comes the petrol stop, this is quite an event trying to fill up all the bikes. We have tried using credit cards but as we have no zip code they don’t work so we pay up, fill up, then collect our change. People from all over the place ride this route, so when will it occur to someone to get a better system.

The route is fun to follow, with lots to see and interesting places to go. We are travelling with a great bunch of people, who have mixed well and been fun to be with. We have Brits, Scots, Welsh, American and Australian. Everybody eats too much and we seem to have a daily stop for coffee and pie. Graham the person responsible for this blog is one of the fastest eaters i have ever met, a few days ago his buddy Steve announced he had beaten Graham in a pie eating competition, using unfair tactics and failing to tell Graham they were racing , all is fair in love and war.

We have a couple along with us and guess what they are on honey moon. No sun kissed beaches, no romantic dinners, just a bike and a bunch of miss-fits. I am sure everybody wishes them a long and happy life together.
We have visited lots of different stores on our travels and you can buy almost anything. On this trip there are only three females, so shopping is of low priority. One day we went to a jewellery shop a few of the guys bought gifts for their loved ones, but mostly the men were out of the place quicker than a rat up a drain pipe. Had it been a bike shop they would have had to be pried out with a crow bar.

For the ladies out there trying to decide if they should accompany their man, go for it. My only tip would be to bring a gel seat to aid your comfort on the road. We spend a long time in the saddle. I paid 106 dollars out here for one and that was with 15% discount , a high price to pay for comfort. The good side to this is the vast amount of interest in my butt that my complaining created. At my age any interest is greatly received .

Doing laundry on these travels is a challenge, some of the guys don’t have a clue about using a washing machine, at least that’s what they claim. I have just dyed all my whites pale green, my hubby said there was no time for separate loads, put them in all together on a cold wash to save time. Oh well a good excuse to buy new when I get my hands on a suit case at the end of this trip
We have visited some great places on out travels especially the Grand Canyon.

There are two guys here who will remain nameless, but i am sure they know who they are, who decided to torture me cos I am afraid of heights. They climbed into trees and laid over barriers at the edge of the canyon, they have scared me for live, but I don’t think they feel even a bit guilty.

All in all it really is a great experience, but I need a holiday after this!